Early Childhood Education (ECE)


In a short time, you can become one of the high quality professionals working with young children today. Early Childhood Education provides many types of career opportunities for working with children and their families.

Professional Opportunities

The Early Childhood professional provides care and education for young children (infants through pre-kindergarten) and plays a significant role in supporting families and the community. Children who attend high-quality early childhood education programs are more likely to be ready for school and for life. People with Early Childhood education and training can:

  • Work with infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and school-aged children in positions including Teacher Assistant, Teacher, Master Teacher, Site Supervisor and Program Director.
  • Open a small child care business, a licensed family child care home, or a private child care center.
  • Become an "in-home" child care provider/nanny who is hired by a family to do child care in the child's home setting.
  • Work as a teacher's aide in an elementary school program.
  • Transfer to a four-year college or university in fields related to children, schools, and families, such as: Child Development, Human Development, Elementary Education, Social Work, Parent/Family Education, Special Education, Occupational Therapy, Speech Therapy, and Early Intervention Specialist.

Job Outlook

There is a clear need for early care professionals. Data shows that in Santa Cruz, Monterey, and San Benito Counties and the Silicon Valley, we need two times the number of Early Care Professionals than is projected to graduate over the next three years.

This means jobs are plentiful and the region needs more ECE professionals in the workforce!

People in the industry regularly ask for highly trained ECE graduates. They are eager to hire our students who have completed Student Teaching, and especially those who have completed an Internship in the CCCC&LS.

Requirements for Success

Effective teaching of young children in the 21st century requires a commitment to continuing professional development, understanding of human diversity and equity issues, advocacy for children and families, and commitment to the on-going professionalization of the field. It also requires:

  • Understanding of child development
  • Love of learning
  • Delight in diversity
  • Flexibility, openness and appreciation of children's natural intelligence
  • Self knowledge
  • Effective communication skills
  • Emotional and physical stamina

Early Care Professionals

  • Develop respectful and trusting relationships with children and families
  • Develop and implement age appropriate and culturally relevant curriculum
  • Establish and maintain the classroom environment
  • Assess and keep records of children's development
  • Oversee the health, safety and nutrition of children
  • Partner with families including: daily check-ins, individual conferences, and mutual planning for each child's development and well-being

Additionally, Early Childhood Program Directors are responsible for leadership, staff development, partnerships with families, and program management including requiring both business and advocacy skills.

View more information about cost and time expected for earning an ECE Certificate, as well as employment expectations.

The Program Brochure